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1. To reduce something in size, scale, or amount. A noun or pronoun can be used between "work" and "down." The store said they'd be able to work down the price by a couple hundred dollars since we'll be buying in such large quantities. We'll have to work the prototype down to a more compact design.
2. To use a lot of force in order to manipulate something into a downward position (in, on, or over something else). A noun or pronoun can be used between "work" and "down." You'll have to really work this piece down before it will snap into place. It was a lot harder to work down the lever than I was expecting.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
work something down (over something)
to manipulate something downward over something. Now, you work this part down over this little tube, and then it won't leak. Liz worked the lid down and tightened it on.
work something down
to lower or reduce something, especially an amount of money. Over a few months, they worked the price down, and the house soon was sold. They worked down the price so much that the house was a steal.
work down (the line) (to someone or something)
to progress through a series until someone or something is reached. I will work down to the papers on the bottom gradually. You can't hurry this kind of work. We will work down the line to Katie. We have to work down to the last one. They are working down the line as fast as they can, but everyone has to be taken in order.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.